Let’s take stock of where Labour are, electorally.
They are not performing well in the Opinion Polls. At the point where an opposition “government in waiting” should be streets ahead of the government, they remain the odd percentage point above the Tories. (35% to the Tory’s 32%)
Nor did they do spectacularly well in either the Euro elections (25.4%, 2.1% behind UKIP) or in the local elections. They may have gained some Council seats, but their vote share reflects the polls, and they only increased their count of councils under their control by 5 from 77 to 82 – abysmal at this stage in the election cycle.
We will offer our own prognosis, and the simple version of it is the title. Let’s look at some detail.
For a start, Labour has been shifting towards attracting middle class voters for quite a while, owing to the vast numbers of middle-class “client voters” they created on their watch. There is the Army of public sector non-manual employees, together with Gordon Brown’s tax credits which makes most people with families benefit recipients. And, during the winter, Ed Miliband pronounced that he can save the middle class in the Telegraph, and here in The Guardian.
Now: what about ethnic minorities? The previous Labour administration cynically permitted their population to grow by opening the floodgates of immigration from outside the EU, in order to create what they believed would be another client class. This has backfired in two ways, with two different groups of people. For a start, we now get Daily Mail headlines like this one: “208,000 passports handed to migrants in one year: One reason there’s a massive backlog…” which drives many towards UKIP.
The other group is the growing army of self-sufficient, hard-working, no-nonsense immigrants, notably from the Indian sub-continent. Labour has botched this as many local administrations with large ethnic communities have descended into being local fiefdoms (e.g Tower Hamlets) and this has alienated a lot of younger Asians, as reported on Labour List. Labour have assumed for years that the ethnic vote will always be Left Wing, but as Morpheus Magnus argues in our columns, the right can win a fair share of their vote, as proven in Canada.
Just today, there’s a report in the Daily Telegraph that says “Ed Balls calls for Labour ‘prawn cocktail offensive’” So now they want to attract business as well as the middle classes and ethnic minorities? And didn’t Blair and Brown court with big business (not SMEs though) during their tenure?
What about the working classes, Labour’s traditional client voters? Dave Prentis, the UNISON leader, now speaks up for them, saying “Labour ‘risks losing working class votes to UKIP’” We’ve got news for you, mate, they already have, witness the massive swing from Labour to UKIP in the last elections in the north and in poorer communities in other parts of the country.
On top of century-old working class trench, Labour have dug themselves three new enormous holes (labelled middle-class, ethnic minorities and big business), while they have allowed the working-class trench to deteriorate. UKIP can only benefit from this – our politics can better straddle these different groups than Labour’s “tax, spend and re-distribute” policies. We must work at the same four groups, but with a single set of unified policies, not a different “enticer” for each.
Naturally, we’re not going to offer any solutions to Labour in these columns, except: “Confucious, he say, when in hole, stop digging.”